In their day, the Pilgrims were called Separatists because they separated themselves from the Church of England. They met in their homes in secret to read the Bible and worship freely. This was in contrast to the Puritans who remained in the church of England with the hope of purifying it. For the Separatists, this meant that the king and his officials became their enemy; Separatists were the “trouble makers” and were officially persecuted. The government broke up the secret meetings; they took their positions, their properties, and arrested them. This is how the Separatists became wanderers for their faith, pilgrims; they left England and fled to Holland in 1608.
Settling in Leyden, Holland, they were able to worship freely. The Dutch had been persecuted by the Spanish years earlier and were much more tolerant of different ways to worship Jesus Christ. In Leyden for twelve years, the Pilgrims worked hard and sought to make it a home, but it was not to be. (more…)
Will was in his first year of college and invited a fellow student to join us for Thanksgiving. Inviting others in for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Sunday lunch is pretty normal for us. So Stefano agreed to join us for Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving, Stefano’s mom, her sister, and her daughter surprised him by showing up at the college. Will, asked, “Can they come too?” So our crowd grew a little larger. (more…)
Sunday morning worship. I was singing, praying as we worshipped. In my heart, however, I was concerned for my young teens Anna and Patrick. During that worship time I heard God’s truth come to me. It was both a rebuke and an assurance, like a two-sided coin: “I can do more with their sin than you can do with their perfect behavior.”
I was struck by the clarity of that thought and by its immediate application in my life. We had raised our children with clear boundaries, teaching them to “obey with a good attitude.” Nevertheless, life itself was not fitting into such a neat package. They were growing and developing as their own persons and our control was lessening. We would see good fruit but also stuff we didn’t like in them. (It sounded a lot like ourselves, actually.)
God was rebuking me that my faith and trust were not in Him but in my own ability to be a good parent. We were trying to control our kids. As we saw that we were gradually losing control, we didn’t like it. We were asking ourselves many questions: (more…)